Can a Paladin use Divine Grace against an AoE Spell?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


My question originates from the word "Targeted" in the Trigger description. Must the spell have the word "Target" in its description in order to use Divine Grace? Is this intentional?
If it is, well...
If not, could the trigger be changed to:
Trigger You attempt a saving throw against a spell.
(though if Paizo changed the word spell to magical effect that'd be really nice as well...)


A target for an AoE spell would be any creature affected by the spell. They are in the area, therefore they are targeted by the spell and suffer its effects.

So yes, a Paladin should be able to use his Divine Grace feat on area effect spells and abilities.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

A target for an AoE spell would be any creature affected by the spell. They are in the area, therefore they are targeted by the spell and suffer its effects.

So yes, a Paladin should be able to use his Divine Grace feat on area effect spells and abilities.

I hope you're right.

The reason this came up for me was that I was comparing Divine Grace to the Spellguard shield. They are very similar, with their +2 to Saves. (and not stackable mind you) But I found that the Dragonslayer's shield fit the more AoE niche, while the Spellguard was more for targeted spells. So I reasoned that if the Spellguard shield didn't trigger against AoEs then DG didn't either. But yeah, I think they should remove the Targeted language if AoEs work with DG and Spellguard.


While I see the point, let's look at it this way: I think it would be very awkward and unfair that a Paladin can use Divine Grace against a spell like Chain Lightning, but not against a spell like Lightning Bolt.

It's immersion-breaking and it also makes no sense given on how spells like these (or more accurately, Fireball) work in relation to effects like Divine Grace, or even Ancient's Blood.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

While I see the point, let's look at it this way: I think it would be very awkward and unfair that a Paladin can use Divine Grace against a spell like Chain Lightning, but not against a spell like Lightning Bolt.

It's immersion-breaking and it also makes no sense given on how spells like these (or more accurately, Fireball) work in relation to effects like Divine Grace, or even Ancient's Blood.

Yes, I totally agree. That's why I think Divine Grace should be worded exactly like Ancient's Blood. (in fact that's where I got the idea to how to word it above) Ancient's Blood is clear and does not use the word "Targeted". It's a small nitpick, but I hope this change clears future confusion.


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Why isn't it just a flat bonus. The fact that it is a reaction makes it awful. Half the time you will have already used your reaction.


The Paladin, and to a lesser extent other classes, would be helped immensely by a rule stating that when a feature gives you a new reaction, it also gives you one bonus reaction per turn which can only be used for that maneuver.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
The Paladin, and to a lesser extent other classes, would be helped immensely by a rule stating that when a feature gives you a new reaction, it also gives you one bonus reaction per turn which can only be used for that maneuver.

If you want that to be a thing, I think they'd be better off just making everything (or most things) currently a reaction a once per turn free action.


Gortle wrote:
Why isn't it just a flat bonus. The fact that it is a reaction makes it awful. Half the time you will have already used your reaction.

I haven't found it to be as bad as I thought it would be. It's a nice little boost if you know you will be going up against spell casters. Then there are the feats that give you more reactions. (level 8 & 14) Yes, I know those are higher level... But they are still helpful and in line with how the game plays.


This is interesting. Frankly, as the feat is written, the Paladin should not be able to use Divine Grace against an AoE because in no way does AoEs' target the paladin, they just hits everything.

If we use the logic that AoE spells "target" every person in the area, then it becomes a problem in regards to concealed, sensed, and unseen rules. Because in those cases you would need to make the flat 5 or 11 check for the spell to successfully land even before the creature made its saving throw. Maybe this was intended, except I don't see any language in how spells work that says AoE, aura, etc target those in their area.

So, I have to disagree that per RAW for the playtest Divine Grace does not work against AoE spells.

On the other hand, I think the ability is badly written and the target language should be removed.

But it is a circumstance bonus, which means it is going to stack with a lot of spells that give a bonus to saves, since those are almost all conditional bonuses. So maybe it isn't badly written at all.


Joey Cote wrote:

This is interesting. Frankly, as the feat is written, the Paladin should not be able to use Divine Grace against an AoE because in no way does AoEs' target the paladin, they just hits everything.

If we use the logic that AoE spells "target" every person in the area, then it becomes a problem in regards to concealed, sensed, and unseen rules. Because in those cases you would need to make the flat 5 or 11 check for the spell to successfully land even before the creature made its saving throw. Maybe this was intended, except I don't see any language in how spells work that says AoE, aura, etc target those in their area.

So, I have to disagree that per RAW for the playtest Divine Grace does not work against AoE spells.

On the other hand, I think the ability is badly written and the target language should be removed.

But it is a circumstance bonus, which means it is going to stack with a lot of spells that give a bonus to saves, since those are almost all conditional bonuses. So maybe it isn't badly written at all.

I understand that RAW, Divine Grace doesn't work on spells like Fireball. But it is immersion-breaking that I can have a Paladin's feat work on Chain Lightning (which affects areas of multiple foes) or Meteor Swarm, but not Fireball or Lightning Bolt. It makes no sense how that is the case, especially when other examples of AoEs do refer to creatures in the aftected area as targets.

It also makes no sense when an ability like a Breath Weapon, which is almost certainly magical in nature, doesn't permit Divine Grace to work, simply because it's not a spell, but merely a magical effect similar to Spell Point abilities.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Joey Cote wrote:

This is interesting. Frankly, as the feat is written, the Paladin should not be able to use Divine Grace against an AoE because in no way does AoEs' target the paladin, they just hits everything.

If we use the logic that AoE spells "target" every person in the area, then it becomes a problem in regards to concealed, sensed, and unseen rules. Because in those cases you would need to make the flat 5 or 11 check for the spell to successfully land even before the creature made its saving throw. Maybe this was intended, except I don't see any language in how spells work that says AoE, aura, etc target those in their area.

So, I have to disagree that per RAW for the playtest Divine Grace does not work against AoE spells.

On the other hand, I think the ability is badly written and the target language should be removed.

But it is a circumstance bonus, which means it is going to stack with a lot of spells that give a bonus to saves, since those are almost all conditional bonuses. So maybe it isn't badly written at all.

I understand that RAW, Divine Grace doesn't work on spells like Fireball. But it is immersion-breaking that I can have a Paladin's feat work on Chain Lightning (which affects areas of multiple foes) or Meteor Swarm, but not Fireball or Lightning Bolt. It makes no sense how that is the case, especially when other examples of AoEs do refer to creatures in the aftected area as targets.

It also makes no sense when an ability like a Breath Weapon, which is almost certainly magical in nature, doesn't permit Divine Grace to work, simply because it's not a spell, but merely a magical effect similar to Spell Point abilities.

I agree that it is immersion breaking, and I'm figuring that Paizo will fix the language by the time PF2 comes out.

On the topic of Breath Weapons... I do think Divine Grace should work with Breath Weapons. But the trouble is differentiating when Divine Grace works and when it doesn't. Should it work with the Dragon's Frightful Presence Aura? What about other Monster's special abilities? I suppose that one way to fix this problem is to change the word "spell" to "magical effect". But that may make the Feat too powerful. The Dwarf has to give up 2 resonance points for that ability. Why should the Paladin get it for so little a cost? (It's the only non-oath feat at level 2, and if you don't want to be an oath Paladin... Divine Grace!)


Iron_Matt17 wrote:

I agree that it is immersion breaking, and I'm figuring that Paizo will fix the language by the time PF2 comes out.

On the topic of Breath Weapons... I do think Divine Grace should work with Breath Weapons. But the trouble is differentiating when Divine Grace works and when it doesn't. Should it work with the Dragon's Frightful Presence Aura? What about other Monster's special abilities? I suppose that one way to fix this problem is to change the word "spell" to "magical effect". But that may make the Feat too powerful. The Dwarf has to give up 2 resonance points for that ability. Why should the Paladin get it for so little a cost? (It's the only non-oath feat at level 2, and if you don't want to be an oath Paladin... Divine Grace!)

I don't think it'd work with an aura. The biggest thing between an aura and an area effect ability is that such things need to be activated and actually require effort to affect certain creatures. An aura like Frightful Presence doesn't really differentiate between creatures to affect and not affect, which is a big indicator of what targeting is all about: deciding which creatures to affect with a given ability or spell or whatever. In fact, per RAW, Frightful Presence applies to every creature besides itself. (It certainly explains why Dragons are usually solitary creatures; they scare everything else, even each other, off!)

And to me, that's what my definition of targeting is. There are many ways to target a creature, but the important thing is making the effort to actually try and affect that creature with the effect to do so, and the problem with the current Divine Grace wording is that we aren't sure if it is referring to targeting as a game term or targeting as a more literal or generalized term, and this has been an issue in PF1 with numerous abilities, most notably the Courageous property, where Morale Bonus, a game term, was actually supposed to be a bonus to morale checks (such as saves versus fear).

P.S., multiclassing at 2nd level also a solid option. Could go for that offbeat Paladin who dabbles in Bard or Sorcerer abilities, or pick up Barbarian Rage. Plenty of options here.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In fact, per RAW, Frightful Presence applies to every creature besides itself. (It certainly explains why Dragons are usually solitary creatures; they scare everything else, even each other, off!)

Now I wonder how they reproduce.


Draco18s wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In fact, per RAW, Frightful Presence applies to every creature besides itself. (It certainly explains why Dragons are usually solitary creatures; they scare everything else, even each other, off!)
Now I wonder how they reproduce.

Simple. They critically make their saving throws, become bolstered for the next 24 hours, and do their dance with no pants within that time. Dragons are rare, true, but also have some of the best saving throws in the game.

Another simple explanation would be that their aura is based on their form, so they simply change form and don't have it working as a result, but per RAW, it's active regardless, and they can't turn it off voluntarily, especially since it's a passive effect. So, short of GM FIAT, like would be applied to most other things for this nature (which is a good thing), they technically can't.

It'll be sad when the baby dragon's dad isn't around, but at that point the wyrmling will be so scared of momma it'll just run away, or cower until it has the guts to stand up for itself.

By the way, I'm totally doing this as a backstory for a dragon. He's so sad and wants company, but can't because he and all of his kind are too scary to hang around with, so he's forever alone.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
By the way, I'm totally doing this as a backstory for a dragon. He's so sad and wants company, but can't because he and all of his kind are too scary to hang around with, so he's forever alone.

Brilliant.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


I don't think it'd work with an aura. The biggest thing between an aura and an area effect ability is that such things need to be activated and actually require effort to affect certain creatures. An aura like Frightful Presence doesn't really differentiate between creatures to affect and not affect, which is a big indicator of what targeting is all about: deciding which creatures to affect with a given ability or spell or whatever. In fact, per RAW, Frightful Presence applies to every creature besides itself. (It certainly explains why Dragons are usually solitary creatures; they scare everything else, even each other, off!)

And to me, that's what my definition of targeting is. There are many ways to target a creature, but the important thing is making the effort to actually try and affect that creature with the effect to do so, and the problem with the current Divine Grace wording is that we aren't sure if it is referring to targeting as a game term or targeting as a more literal or generalized term, and this has been an issue in PF1 with numerous abilities, most notably the Courageous property, where Morale Bonus, a game term, was actually supposed to be a bonus to morale checks (such as saves versus fear).

P.S., multiclassing at 2nd level also a solid option. Could go for that offbeat Paladin who dabbles in Bard or Sorcerer abilities, or pick up Barbarian Rage. Plenty of options here.

This is why the waters are kinda murky with the language. Your reasons for why the Paladin should be able to use DG with the Breath Attack and not Frightful Presence are solid. But they are not intuitive from the language of the book. I'd place it as GM fiat, something that will change from table to table.

In many ways Paizo wants to tighten their language and mechanics in PF2, this is one area that needs improvement. How could it be improved? What specific terms could be used to differentiate between an Aura (or your non-targeting magical effect) from a Breath Weapon (or your targeting magical effect) from a Spell? Because as of now, the Paladin can only react to the last while the Ancient's Blood Dwarf could react to all three...

PS Sorry, Multiclassing never crossed my mind. I've never cared for Multiclassing in any edition. I was keeping the feats to Paladin only choices. Which I'm sure they will add more choices in the future...

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